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The Mechanicsville Local Letters to the Editor: Week of Aug. 12, 2020

The Mechanicsville Local Letters to the Editor: Week of Aug. 12, 2020

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Reader delves into Corwin amendment plan

I am grateful to Dr. Richard Marksbury for bringing to the attention of readers the proposed Corwin Constitutional Amendment and its role in understanding the roots of the Civil War.

Differentiating the preservation of slavery in states where it already existed from the fight to halt the expansion of slavery to new states and territories creates a distinction without a difference.

Those invested in preserving the economic and social system in the South understood that expansion was key to that survival.

Slavery needed to expand westward for the Southern agricultural economy to have any hope of matching the rapid growth of the northern industrial economy.

Political balance, in the Senate in particular, was essential for that expansion to occur.

Hence, expansion was essential to preservation. They were inseparable issues.

The Corwin Amendment was a last-ditch effort to persuade southern states that had already seceded, or were debating it, to reconsider.

That assuring the South in what looked like an ironclad guarantee slavery would continue in their states was the last best way to persuade them not to secede shouts that slavery was indeed the core issue.

Congress didn’t use the final days before war passing emergency tariff relief or states’ rights resolutions.

They focused on slavery. It was the key.

The amendment barely passed. In the Senate it got exactly the needed two-thirds in a 24-12 vote.

And, here it’s important to note that such resolutions don’t require presidential signatures.

President Buchanan, in a gesture to emphasize what he considered the importance of the resolution, signed it anyway.

After his inauguration, President Lincoln followed his constitutional duty to send it to the states for their consideration. To infer that such action reflected his endorsement or support is not accurate.

The July resolution Dr. Marksbury cites as final evidence that the Civil War was not fought to eliminate slavery was passed by the full Congress on July 25, 1861, and signed by Lincoln for the specific political aim of persuading slave-owning border states that had not yet seceded not to take that final step. Those states included Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland.

And, some historians have suggested that Lincoln’s signing of a resolution a few weeks later authorizing the seizure of rebel property, including slaves, was a step toward making abolition a de facto war aim.

Lincoln’s top priority in the opening days of war was indeed preservation of the Union.

But, slavery permeated American politics for decades before actual hostilities and it would soon emerge along with Union as the primary focus because war is indeed politics by other means.

Bill Iles


Explanation was teaching moment

Thank you for encouraging folks to write in their comments on the changing of school names in Hanover.

I am constantly looking for more education and I certainly found it in July 8 editorial section. There were several editorials that taught me about our history, especially the article from Rick Marksbury, Ph.D., New Orleans, Louisiana.

Too many times people voice their opinions and a lot of the time that is what it is “their opinion” and not the truth.

Rick pointed out that five of our presidents had made public their admiration for General Robert E. Lee. (Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford). That information can be verified.

Help me to understand how changing the names of schools will guarantee anybody of a better education. When they are changed, I would like to have a crystal ball to look ahead 20 years, 30 years or even 50 years and see what difference it made.

If the folks who want to have these schools renamed, Confederate statues torn down, and streets renamed, and these things were granted, what would they want next? I need some understanding. When is enough enough?!

Our country was founded for religious freedom. We used to be a Christian nation but now we are not. This is our problem. We are living in a world created by God whether we like it or believe it.

There will be no peace in this country until we fall down on our knees and ask for forgiveness. II Chronicles 7:14, states “and my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” It is then we will love all people, put them above ourselves and live in peace. Let’s try God’s way.

Gwen Townsend


Thanks for changing school names

I couldn’t be more delighted that the Hanover County School Board voted to change the names of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

I want to thank them for dragging Hanover County, parts of it kicking and fussing, out of the past and into the present.

I appreciate this display of support for our diverse student population.

J.M. Thomas


Resident offers replacement for Daniel

(Editor’s note: The following was submitted as “An open letter to Supervisor [Canova] Peterson on the removal of Hanover County School Board member Sterling Daniel and acceptance of an offer to serve as his replacement by a well-qualified member of the community.)

Supervisor Peterson:

I am aware of the offer to serve on the Hanover County School Board, replacing the incumbent Mechanicsville District member Sterling Daniel.

This is a letter of recommendation for Mr. Daniel`s replacement and is an open letter to the constituency residing in the Mechanicsville District to join me in seeking Mr. Daniel`s resignation and replacing him with a well-qualified citizen whose commitment to serve, experience and expertise make him the logical choice to replace Mr. Daniel, John Redd.

While I am surprised and a bit dismayed at Mr. Daniel`s decision on the issue of renaming certain schools within Hanover County Public Schools, I regard that as evidence that Mr. Daniel may lack the vision and fortitude to represent the community`s best interests.

It is apparent that Mr. Daniel has hijacked the process, and, by doing so, has demonstrated disdain for both the majority of citizens who expressed their views as well as the process itself. The community deserves better representation on the school board.

I would be stating the obvious to point out that the county, indeed the larger community, is undergoing enormous social and financial stresses and can expect to do some for the immediate future.

The current health crisis is projected to percolate for quite some time and the effects will surely affect county budgeting decisions as well as school board actions.

I would humbly suggest that the health crisis may be the catalyst for a paradigm shift in school operations. The current situation and quite probably the future of school system operations situation highlight the need for leadership that is creative, innovative and at the same time courageous.

The last element seems to be lacking in Mr. Daniel, given his vote on what might be termed a minor issue. He has failed to respect the larger community`s wishes, has capitulated to the tyranny of the minority, and has suspended common sense.

Eventually, the schools or the high school would be replaced. Then, not now, would be the time to inaugurate new names. It also is a waste of county resources to remove the names. Resources would best have been spent on education and administration costs.

To support the renaming smacks of capitulation to a vocal minority of voices.

Granted, the recent threats of violence to the physical school buildings may have played a part in Mr. Daniel`s decision to rename the schools, but to yield to pressure of this nature does not reflect genuine leadership.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain`s intentions were good at the Munich Convention, but he failed to achieve his goals.

Hanover County has a right and a duty to have the best and the brightest serve on the school board.

Given that the school budget accounts for about 45 percent of the county budget, a position on the school board virtually mandates someone who has economic and financial expertise, as well as business experience.

Given the ongoing health crisis’ projected financial impact on the current and projected school and the county budgets, it is imperative that board leadership be composed of individuals who have the wisdom, business acumen, financial background, and the vision to guide the school board through the future.

Hanover County has a unique opportunity to capitalize on the availability of a community leader who is motivated to serve and has so indicated. The candidate, John Redd, has HCSB experience; he has served on the school board, representing the Cold Harbor District from 1980 through 1984.

He has the background that is necessary for this position of immense responsibility.

Mr. Redd holds an accounting degree from East Carolina University and a master`s degree in taxation from VCU. He has been a CPA in public practice since 1973. In 1984, Mr. Redd started a CPA firm in Mechanicsville and has operated a profitable CPA business in the community from that time.

I hasten to point out that Mr. Redd`s business and social contacts afford him the opportunity to be in touch with many members of the community. As a result, Mr. Redd is in tune with community concerns and community sentiment. This, along with his expansive expertise should be of immeasurable value to the school board and the community at large.

A leader’s position in the community should reflect his involvement in and his commitment to that community. Mr. Redd has served for two terms as president of Mechanicsville Businessmen`s Association. He is a life-long Hanover County resident and a 1969 graduate of Lee-Davis High School.

I’d also proffer that family should be an integral part of leadership credentials. Family commitment to education and to service to the community is evidenced in his wife Terry’s service as a teacher of business subjects at Lee-Davis from 1977 to 1979.

The mandate to release Mr. Daniel from a position that exceeds his capabilities transcends a misguided vote by Mr. Daniel on the rename-the-schools issue.

Now is not the time for that board to engage in tilting at windmills and appeasing a small faction of people who threaten violent acts if their will is not capitulated to.

I state the obvious when I say that the challenges precipitated by the pandemic have and will continue to present challenges that will require creativity and innovative thought.

I fear that changes to identify, plan for, and adapt to the new educational paradigm wrought by the current pandemic may exceed the capabilities of the current incumbent. His recent action reinforces my fear.

I urge you to seek and facilitate Mr. Daniel’s voluntary resignation and capitalize on the offer of Mr. Redd to represent the full community by serving as the Mechanicsville District board member on the Hanover County School Board.

I implore shareholders in the school system to encourage Mr. Daniel to step aside. It will be in the best interests of the community. To them, I say, should you feel that your input into the renaming issue was ignored or that Mr. Daniel`s leadership is lacking, please contact Mr. Daniel at and voice your concern and recommend that he resign to make way for a competent replacement.

John Redd has volunteered to fill the leadership vacuum. He is that individual who is well-qualified to serve as a catalyst for facilitating needed progress in our education system.

I am a product of this school system and I feel, given the right talent at the helm of the school board, that Hanover County schools should emerge as the model on how to adapt to the educational challenges wrought by the current pandemic. Please don’t lose the opportunity to avail the community of his offer to serve on the Hanover County School Board representing the Mechanicsville District and students and parents of the entire county.

Charles D. Waddell

Henry District


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